I am honored to be producing the first TIMB show in North Carolina! After many years of living with a variety of mental health diagnoses, I found my voice, hope and recovery. Since then, I made it my mission to understand mental health, trauma, substance use and social issues that impact the lives of others. Most importantly, the last 23 years have given me the opportunity to be a student of recovery and resiliency from others who have gifted me with being a part of their journey toward wellness. In 2005/2006, I started a peer-run organization, Promise Resource Network (PRN), to serve as a support for people experiencing emotional distress to find their power and their voice. Now, through 8 initiatives, we work with nearly 900 people in our community that are exploring their own path to recovery. Peer support is the backbone of our organization, recovery is our blueprint and social and system transformation is our mission. At PRN, we get the benefit of hearing stories of wellness everyday, now, through TIMB, we have an opportunity to showcase talented, amazing and resilient people, create a platform for people to use their voice and reshape the image from illness to wellness, and an opportunity for others who would otherwise not have access, to hear the real stories and see the real faces of recovery.
I have lived and worked around the globe; the one theme that was always consistent and surprising is the power of human connection. However, it wasn’t until I landed at Promise Resource Network (PRN) here in Charlotte that I fully understood the power of storytelling as part of that connection. I have understood the effectiveness of this means of communication in sharing and imparting knowledge, but here at PRN I began to fully understand the true power of storytelling as a tool. In a peer environment, storytelling isn’t just sharing information-it has the power to heal; not only for those listening, but for those speaking even more so. It should be no surprise that when you are knowingly amongst peers and in a place safe to express your story, you feel as if you have found your “tribe”, your chosen family, you are connected. The marriage of these things has allowed me to own my experiences (good and bad), heal, grow- thrive. That is why PRN and This Is My Brave are so important to me. Storytelling really can save lives.
I am very excited to be on the production team for This Is My Brave Charlotte! I have been living in Charlotte for 20 years this spring, moving here from NYC where I grew up and worked for many years as an editor. My husband and I are the proud parents of a 20-year-old son and a 17-year-old daughter. At only ten years old, our son began experiencing life-threatening depression and severe mood lability, ultimately diagnosed as Bipolar Disorder. Through our journey trying to help him, we have learned so much about mental illness and met many wonderful families and professionals in the field along the way. At the same time, we have witnessed the fear, stigma and lack of education around mental illness in our community. I have always felt strongly that openly sharing our stories and experiences is a way to support, educate and promote healing within all of us. When I learned about This Is My Brave through social media, I was very eager for a production to happen in Charlotte. As a member of the production team with Promise Resource Network, my time will be in honor of our son Alexander and all the people who so bravely live with mental health diagnoses and share their story and gifts with all of us.
My life changed when the gun didn't discharge when I pulled the trigger as the barrel touched my temple during this third attempt. I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder 7 years prior and did not know how to handle it. I did not understand what it meant and did not stick to the help that I was receiving. This lead to self-medication with alcohol and multiple suicide attempts. I am the Founder and Executive Director of Eustress, Inc., a nonprofit built on the principles of raising mental health awareness through conversation and various activities to break the stigma associated with mental health and mental illness in black and brown communities. I understand that many people live in a state of ignorance, fear, and denial instead of seeking the help that they actually need. My passion has been to help people understand that it’s okay to not be okay, and its okay to get help when it’s needed.
Call for stories is open and we want to hear your Brave! Click the link to sign up for an audition slot on February 27th, 28th, or March 3rd and you may be selected for our Charlotte show’s cast of storytellers. (Show Date: May 19, 2018)
View our auditions page for more details on the types of stories we’re seeking and tips on preparing your piece!